SRI GAURIDASA PANDITA
Gauridasa, a disciple of Nityananda Prabhu, was one of the twelve gopalas who descended from Vraja along with Him. He was Subala Sakha, the foremost among priya-narma-sakhas, in his past incarnation. His father’s name was Sri Kamsari Misra and his mother’s name Sri Kamala Devi. Together they had six sons: Damodara, Jagannatha, Surya dasa, Gauri dasa, Krsna dasa and Nrsimha Caitanya.
The seventh wave of Bhakti Ratnakara (7.321-323, 330-388) describes the glory and pastimes of Gauridas Pandit as follows:
“How can I describe the pastimes of these two Lords to whom Pandita Gauridasa offered his service? Gauridasa Pandita was famous throughout the world, for the Lord was bound by his love. Gauridasa Pandita was an abode of love just like Sri Subla, the friend of Krsna in Vrndavana. Sri Subala, the favorite friend of Sri Krsna, is most beautiful, and his qualities have been perfectly sung by the Pandits.Gauridasa’s dear disciple, Hridaya Caitanya, was the guru of the famous preacher Syamananda Prabhu of Orissa. Gauridasa’s granddaughter was married to the son of Hridayacaitanya. Gauridasa Pandita’s loving dealings with Hridaya Caitanya are described in the Bhakti Ratnakara (7.389-448) as follows:
Sarkhela Suryadasa was a scholar and a broad minded person. His brother was Gauridasa Pandita. They lived at Saligram, but after taking his elder brother’s permission Gauridasa settled at Ambika by the side of the Ganga.
As an introvert Gauridasa would always live in seclusion. The Lord understood his mind very well. One day Sri Caitanya went to Ambika after crossing the Ganga from Santipur. He told the Pandit, “I had gone to Santipura and from there I went to the village Harinadi by boat. I crossed the Ganga by rowing the boat with an oar. This is the oar; take it; I am giving it to you. With this oar mankind can cross the ocean of this material world.” Saying this the Lord embraced Gauridasa Pandita.
The Lord took the Pandita with him to Nadia and engaged him in wonderful activities. Who can understand the plan of Gaura Candra? He gave the Pandita scriptures that He Himself had written.
After some days the Pandita returned to Ambika where he regularly read the Gita given to him by Prabhu. Simply seeing the handwriting of the Lord on the manuscripts of the Gita gave the Pandita extreme pleasure. Fortunate visitors to Ambika can have darshan of the handwritten manuscripts of the Gita by Prabhu and also the oar.
Who can describe the fame of the Pandita, to whom Krsna Caitanya and Nityananda were the life and soul of? He was constantly absorbed in singing the glory of Nitai and Caitanya and knew nothing but their lotus feet. Nitai and Caitanya were the lights within his eyes. Who can understand his complete devotion? One sight of the Lord gave him immense pleasure, and a moment of separation threw him in great sorrow.
Understanding the mind of the Pandita, Lord Gaurahari once told him to bring a neem tree from Navadvipa and carve deities of Caitanya and Nityananda. He assured Gauridasa that he would find no trouble carving the deities and that all of his desires would be fulfilled. The Pandita was ecstatic with joy and carefully carved the wooden deities.
He who made the deities was only a recipient of the Lord’s grace. It was the Lord’s own manifestation and the others were merely instruments in the Lord’s desire. Beholding the deities, Pandita Gauridasa was overwhelmed with joy and could not restrain his tears. Considering himself most fortunate, he made arrangements for the installation ceremony of the deities and took help from some of his favorite companions.
Following the prescribed rituals, he bathed and anointed the deities at an auspicious moment and then seated them on their throne. The devotees of the Lord were extremely happy to see the deities of Nitai and Caitanya properly installed. The beauty of these two deities pleased the whole world but true realization of their presence was reserved for the followers of Mahaprabhu.
t was well known that Nitai and Caitanya were bound by the love of Gauridasa. The pastimes revealed by Nitai and Caitanya at the house of Gauridasa are also well known. How can I describe the activities of Gauridasa Pandita, who was always engaged in serving the two Lords?
Out of love Nitai and Caitanya once told Gauridasa smilingly who can know your activities when you even do not know that you are always absorbed in love and devotion?
“O Subala, my friend, can you remember your first life? Can you remember the great fun we had when we took the cows to the bank of the Yamuna?”
Saying this the deities turned themselves into Krsna and Balarama with black and fair complexions. In that form they held the Sringa (horn), flute, cane, peacock feathers and ornaments. How beautiful they looked in the dress of cowherd boys. Beholding their beauty Gauridasa was overwhelmed with ecstatic joy. Only by the will of the Lord could he regain his consciousness and therefore he stared steadily at the deities on the throne. When the two Lords displayed their pastimes in this way, Gauridasa experienced ecstatic love.
One day Gauridasa prepared food and requested the two Lords to eat. The Lords heard the sweet request of Gauridasa, but without touching the food they remained silent. Seeing the attitude of his two Lords he told them in mock anger, “If you are satisfied without food, then why do you force me to cook?” It was then Gauridasa’s turn to keep quiet and the Lord’s spoke gently, “Gauridasa, you can never be satisfied by preparing a small quantity of food. Your habit is to prepare different varieties of dishes in large quantities. When we request you not to cook like this you never listen. Your laborious efforts are painful to us. Remember, whatever can be prepared most easily will be most satisfying to us.”
“I shall never do it again,” replied Gauridasa. From now on I shall offer you only rice with boiled saka.” This statement made the two Lords laugh and then they began to eat the meal he had prepared. “You have made such tasty dishes that we are very satisfied,” said Nitai and Caitanya in praise of Gauridasa’s cooking. The sight of his deities eating brought unlimited pleasure to the eyes of Gauridasa Pandita.
One day Gauridasa Pandita wanted to dress the two Lords with jewellery. Reading the mind of the Pandita the two deities decorated themselves with different ornaments fitted with rare jewels. When he entered the temple, the Pandita saw that the deities one the throne were already decorated. The Pandita was overwhelmed with emotion and when he regained his normal composure he saw the deities dressed as usual. I have never seen that type of ornaments before, thought Gauridasa.
“I wanted to decorate the body of my Lords with ornaments but I did not know what type of ornaments to use. My ignorance has now been removed.” As the Pandita was contemplating the Lord said, “Ornaments made of flowers please me the most.” The Pandita decorated Nitai and Caitanya with flower ornaments. Long flower garlands draped from the neck to the feet of the Lorda created unparallel beauty. For fun the Pandita placed a mirror in front of the Lords.
The devotional activities of Gauridasa Pandita became well known but I have described them only in brief.”
“Hridaya Pandita was a disciple of Pandita Gauridasa. Formerly he was known as Sri Hridayananda and was a great devotee of the Lord. I shall now narrate how Hridayananda was re-named Hridaya Caitanya and how he received the mercy of Pandita Gauridasa. Early one morning Gauridasa went to meet Gadadhara Pandita.Disciples of the present gosvamis of Amvikanagara, who are descendants from the family-line of Hridaya Caitanya, worship the Lord in sakhya-rasa.
With a broad smile Gadadhara cordially received Gauridasa and said, “Since I have seen you in the morning, I know
it will be a good day for me.” But Gauridasa sweetly replied, “No it is for my own good that I have come here.” Gadadhara said, “With what can I please you?” and Gauridasa replied, “I must pray to you for something.”
“Everythins here is your,” said Gadadhara. “Take what ever you like without any hestitation.”
“I want Hridayananda,” said Gauridasa, whereupon Gadadhara called for Hridayananda. With an elated heart Hridayananda came forward and bowed at the feet of the two Pandits.
Gadadhara Pandita spoke to Hridaya Pandita and then dedicated him to the care of Gauridasa Pandita.
The manner in which Gadadhara Pandita showered his mercy on Sri Hridaya is well known to all. He raised Hridaya from his childhood and taught him the scriptures. Although Gadadhara Pandita Gosvami was overwhelmed by his affection for the boy, yet he happily gave Hridayananda to Gauridasa Pandita. Without receiving the grace of the Lord, who can understand the aims and objectives of Gadadhara and Pandita Gauridasa?
Gauridasa spent time with Gadadhara Pandita discussing the glories of the Lord. Then taking leave of Pandita Gadadhara, Gauridasa and Hridayananda went home. In due course of time he gave diksha mantra to Hridayananda and dedicated him at the feet of Nityananda and Caitanya. Hridaya truly dedicated himself to the service of the Lord and this pleased Gauridasa very much. Who can understand the activities of Gauridasa who floated continually in waves of love.
One day he told Hridayananda that the Lord’s birthday was approaching. “I shall visit the houses of my followers to collect provisions for the festvial and I shall return soon,” said Gauridasa. “Be very careful in your service to the Lord.” Then Gauridasa left his house.
Gauridasa passed some time in solitary places with other devotees singing about the glories of the Lord. Meanwhile Hridayananda began to think, “Why is the master so late in returning? Only two more days remain before the ceremony and enough provisions have already been collected here.”
Considering these points and remembering the feet of his spiritual master he decided to send invitations everywhere for the great occasion. andita Gauridasa returned just one day before the festival and when he heard that Hridaya had sent invitations everywhere, even without his permission, Gauridasa felt happy right to the core of his heart. Outwardly, however he showed his displeasure and scolded Hridaya angrily. “While I am still living, you have acted in an independent manner. You have sent invitation letters at your own will but I shall not join you.”
Hridaya bowed at his mater’s feet and went to the bank of the Ganges where he lived under a tree. Gauridasa started the festival and mahantas from far and near assembled there. One wealthy man sent a large quantity of provisions in a boat. The rich man met Sri Hridayananda on the bank of the Ganges and handed the provisions to him. Hridaya Pandita sent a message to Pandita Gauridasa. In mock anger the Pandita told the messenger to tell Hridayananda that he could use the provisions for his own celebration. On the order of his guru Sri Hridaya happily began to celebrate the occasion using those provisions. A large number of Vaishnavas assembled there and in their association Hridayananda performed wonderful sankirtana.
As the sound of the khola nd kartala reached the sky, it seemed that the ocean of happiness would overflow its banks. Vaisnavas danced in a circle, with tears flowing continuously down their faces. Suddenly Hridaya observed that both Lord Nitai and Lord Caitanya – the incarnations of love – were dancing within the circle. They style of their dancing was indescribable and their physical beauty brightened the whole world. The faces of those two Lords defeated the pride of the moon and Hridayananda cried in joy as he observed them.
Hearing the joyous sound of that sankirtana, Gauridasa became very pleased although he remained in his own place. He gently told Gangadasa, “It is now time to worship. G
o to the temple.”
But when Hara Gangadasa entered the temple he found no deities on the throne. When he reported this to the Pandita, Gauridasa was overwhelmed in ecstasy as he realized that the two Lords had been bound in love of Hridayananda. With a smile he took his stick in his hand and although he was happy to the core of his heart, he displayed outward anger and headed for that san kirtana gathering by the side of the Ganga. There he saw his two Lords dancing. Observing the mock anger of the Pandita the two Prabhus clandestinely entered the temple again.
Gauridasa witnessed that Sri Caitanya had entered into the heart of Hridayananda. Seeing Caitanya present in the heart of Hridayananda, Gauridasa could not control his tears. He looked continually with unblinking eyes. He forgot his mock anger and unconsciously the stick fell from his hand. Stretching out his arms in ecstatic love he went forward to embrace Hridaya.
“How fortunate you are,” said Gauridasa. “From this day I name you Hridaya Caitanya - the one in whose heart Sri Caitanya always resides. He drenched Hridaya with his tears and the disciple fell at he feet of his master. Together they returned to the temple. Acknowledging the special effulgence of the Lord, Gauridasa appointed Hridaya Caitanya to the full service of the deities.
The Vaisnavas were all happy about this and the great festival they held defies description. The grace of the Lord on Hridaya became known to all. This is the story about Hridayananda’s obtaining the name Hridaya Caitanya.
Gauridasa Pandita’s disappearance is on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Sravana. In Vrindavana, on the banks of the Yamuna, there is a place called Dhira Samira. Gauridasa Pandita’s samadhi is located here, as are his worshipable Deities, Sri Sri Syama-Raya.